Monday, February 26, 2018

February 26, 2018

Superintendent's Blog
February 26, 2018

Welcome Back! I hope everyone had a chance to take advantage of the time away to enjoy their families and re-energize for spring.... which we hope will be here (consistently) soon.

The past weeks have been a challenge for many of us as we continue to reflect on the tragic events in Florida. There appears to be an incredible focus at the national, state and local levels, on the safety of schools. This is an issue that we have always maintained as a priority in EWG, and we will continue to analyze our procedures, protocols and policies to ensure that we do everything in our power to create and provide the safest learning environment possible.

In the coming days, we will be meeting with high school students to engage in a meaningful conversation about school safety, with a focus on the roles they can play to enhance the safety of our schools. We will also listen to their feedback and concerns, as the voices of our students can be a powerful lever for change. The power of student voice has become increasingly evident in the wake of the Florida school shootings. In addition, we are working with the West Greenwich Police Department and the Emergency Management officials of both member towns to provide advanced training to our staff and students so that they are fully prepared to respond in the event of an emergency situation.

I will be scheduling a staff conversation as well to listen to their feedback and concerns. An open meeting for parents will be advertised soon. This will be an opportunity for us to summarize current activity at the national, state and local levels in response to the school safety discussion. We will also share resources for families and have an opportunity to answer questions and listen to feedback.

More than ever, it is time for us to come together on an issue that we can all agree on - the safety of our children. I am grateful for your ongoing support and concern and look forward to our collaboration as we continue to address this most critical of needs.

Over the recent break, several of our high school students had the opportunity to conduct research and collect/analyze data about the conservation of sea turtles in the Bahamas through the Earthwatch organization. High School Biology teacher Gwynne Millar organized this incredible opportunity for our students - something I am sure will be an everlasting memory for these young scientists.


Prior to vacation week, I spent some time in our early-learning classrooms - always an enjoyable experience!
                                              Reading to Mrs. Schofield's PK class (above)

(Below) Participating in a measurement lesson in Ms. Ricci's Kindergarten classroom

Congratulations to the cast of Inn Cognito for making the front page of the local newspaper for their most recent production.
EWG School Department Budget
The School Committee will vote to adopt the Superintendent's recommended budget on Tuesday, 2/27/18 at the regularly scheduled meeting. The meeting will be held at 6:00 PM in the JSHS library/media center.
Look for mailings outlining key dates and events related to the school department budgetary process:
Public Hearing - Monday, March 26, 2018 at 7:00 PM in the JSHS Auditorium

All-Day Referendum - Monday, April 9, 2018

Thursday, December 21, 2017

December 21, 2017

Superintendent's Blog

Happy Holidays!!

Thank you to the staff of EWG for making the week before winter break so special and meaningful for all of our students. 

Lineham students making gingerbread houses

                                          Wawaloam Kindergarten presentation for families
complete with holiday songs for Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza  

Metcalf 5th and 6th graders at the JSHS to see and hear a presentation from the HS band and chorus. 
Mr. Charest wins the ugly head to toe outfit competition.

Our JHS students went on a school-wide field trip to view the new movie, Wonder.

And finally, our SHS students participated in a We are 1 march to celebrate tolerance, solidarity and peace. We all have differences, and those differences make our school community stronger. Thank you to the National Honor Society and the many teachers who helped to make this a reality!

I wish you all a very joyous holiday season and look forward to the New Year.

Friday, December 8, 2017

December 8, 2017

Superintendent's Blog

Students in Mrs. Colomb's fourth grade class at Metcalf came across some issues with one of the published documents they were working from. Talk about taking advantage of a learning opportunity..... Here is what they sent to the publisher! Kudos to their teacher for helping her students understand the proper and professional way to go about addressing a concern.

Dear Everyday Mathematics,

      This is Isabella, Tegan, and Evelyn from Metcalf Elementary. We are in the fourth grade. We were learning about Lesson 2-1 Extra Practice [triangular numbers]. In your flip book on page 17, you have a few errors.  
First, the 1 dot triangle and the 3 dot triangle are labeled correctly. However, on what was labeled a 6 dot triangle you put 10 dots.  You put 4 dots on each side and 1 on the inside, instead of putting 3 on each side and 0 in the middle.  Also, on your labeled 10 dot triangle you have 15 dots. You put 4 dots on each side and 3 dots in the middle, instead of putting 5 dots on each side and 3 dots in the middle.  The picture you are missing is an accurate 6 dot triangle.  You also need to relabel the 10 dot triangle with correct labels.
This was confusing because we did not know if you counted the dots in the middle and the outside or just the dots on the outside.  We did not understand this because we just started this as an extra lesson and your error made it hard for us to learn about triangular numbers. Please try to fix this error to help us and other students understand it.  

Wawaloam grade 1 students participated in an hour of code this week. Special thanks to Mrs. Marino, Mrs. Gagner, and members of the IT Department for helping to organize this engaging event for our students! Computer Science is a focus area in all Rhode Island Schools, and in EWG we are committed to providing engaging opportunities to all children so that they learn to think critically in a technology-rich environment.

Looking for something to do this weekend?

EWG Sr. High Drama Presents:
William Shakespeare's 
A Midsummer Night's Dream

December 7,8,9 at 7PM

December 10th at 2PM

Congratulations to our Junior and Senior High School Vocabulary Bowl teams. Both schools placed in the top three in the state in the previous month's standings!
Rhode Island Leaders for November 2017

Lineham students read "The Pigeon Wants a Puppy" last week, and students interviewed classmates and school visitors to find out what they wanted. See the book wall display below with many of the collected responses. I asked for chocolate ice cream, and Ms. Robin asked for snow. This weekend, she might just get her wish.

Thanks for sharing, Mrs. Schofield!

Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the first snowfall.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

October 26, 2017

October, 2017

New to EWG Educator Spotlight - Mrs. Bucacci

Mrs. Bucacci joined our second grade team at Metcalf Elementary School this year after 5 years of elementary classroom teaching experience in Nashua, New Hampshire and another 4 years as an elementary classroom teacher in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. She has earned an Associate's Degree from Johnson & Wales University in Management, a Bachelor's Degree from Southern New Hampshire University in Business Studies, and her Master's Degree in Education from the University of New Hampshire in Manchester.

Mrs. Bucacci brings a wealth of talent to Metcalf, including expertise in Responsive Classroom and experience with PBIS, Science kit instruction and Common Core Mathematics instruction. She has extensive training in teaching writing and in using Google Classroom.

Although new to our District, Mrs. Bucacci is already sharing her work with Responsive Classroom to her Metcalf colleagues during our professional development day on Friday (October 27th). She is forever smiling and is a model of positivity for our District. Her students adore her, and no matter when I have visited her classroom, her children are engaged, happy and eager to learn.
Welcome to EWG!

Harvest Fest at Lineham
Here are some fun pictures from Lineham featuring some of our preschoolers with staff and families as they participated in a variety of events to help them learn about and explore Fall. Students enjoyed pumpkin sports, arts and crafts, and some sensory activities before joining their families for a snack. Thanks to the staff of Lineham for putting this event together for our little ones.

No Power - No Problem!

The power went out at Wawaloam, but school was uninterrupted!
Wind and rain caused a power outage at Wawaloam today, and our new generator kicked in. No relocation of students, no early dismissal, and no make up day necessary! In fact, first graders met with their principal for weekly enrichment where they took time for a movement break with the help of the technology we have installed in the Wawaloam cafeteria. We have some pretty impressive dancers, including the guest appearance of one of our recently retired Kindergarten teachers, Ms. Patty.

Special Education Local Advisory Committee (SELAC)
The EWG SELAC is a pro-active group which has sponsored presentations on such topics as the Individualized Education program (IEP) and Attention Deficit Disorder. SELAC has published a Parent Information Booklet and developed a web site, accessible from the EWG home page. 

The group meets monthly to address various issues affecting special education in our school district. In addition, SELAC sponsors training and presentations for parents, teachers, staff, and members of the community. During this school year, SELAC will provide two workshops focused on transition - one primarily about transitions within the school district, and one focusing on the transition to post-secondary experiences. 

Please consider joining this important group. Membership forms can be found on the SELAC web page (or by following this link:

Meetings are scheduled at 7 PM in the JSHS library on November 21, December 19, January 16, March 30, May 15 and June 19. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

September 1, 2017

Superintendent's Blog
Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year!

The opening of school has been busy, but schools and teachers have handled all of the expected and unexpected details with professionalism and efficiency.

Enrollment in our district continues to rise, despite the trend of declining enrollment in our surrounding communities. Grade 2 has been relocated from Wawaloam to Metcalf, a move that was necessary based on space needs at Wawaloam. We have opened up five new elementary classrooms since the close of schools last year, including a last minute addition of a new grade six classroom to begin on Tuesday. Welcome to all of our new families!

Some things to look forward to in this school year:

Foreign Language in the Elementary School (FLES) will be offered to all students in grades 2 through 6 for the first time in EWG. Melanie Lawhead, who has been with the district for many years, has enthusiastically accepted the responsibility of ensuring that this new experience is successful, meaningful and fun for our kids.

Students in grade 8 now have an opportunity to take full-year Spanish, full-year French, or full-year Art based on their interests. These opportunities will allow our students to enter the Senior High School with advanced skills so that they can pursue more rigorous studies in their chosen areas.

We continue to solidify our plans for a comprehensive advisory program at the Senior High School, and will be introducing our students and families to some exciting new resources that will assist with the Individual Learning Plan, goal setting, college planning, and career exploration. In addition, we will be rolling out some changes to the current graduation requirements, consistent with State Regulations, to allow for greater flexibility in student schedules to pursue advanced placement opportunities and more comprehensive and individualized studies in one of the several new and exciting pathways. Our goal is to provide students with an array of choices that will prepare them for employment and/or college studies in a chosen area of interest. There will be much more information on these new efforts as the school year progresses.

Opening Day Highlights

Congratulations to Junior High School Social Studies Teacher, Mr. Andrew Wallace, for being named the District Teacher of the Year during our opening day activities this past Monday. Noreen Dion, a Teacher Assistant at the Junior High School, was named as our Support Professional of the Year.

Also recognized were several finalists for these special honors:

Susan Meriano, Junior High School Special Educator
Steve Gardiner - Senior High School English Teacher
Lisa-Marie Titus - Wawaloam First Grade Teacher
Stacey Place - Metcalf Band and Chorus Teacher

Beverly Babcock - Treasurer's Assistant
Sandra Carter - Metcalf Teacher Assistant
Cheryl Lagergren - Lineham Teacher Assistant

All of these individuals deserve our sincere appreciation for all they do for the EWG community!

Please visit my blog, which will be updated on a monthly basis (minimally). Principals also post regular updates through their blogs and list serves as well.

Welcome back, and have an incredible school year!

Friday, April 28, 2017

April 28, 2017

Superintendent's Blog
April 28, 2017

Take a moment to read about so many exciting district events and student/staff accomplishments!

Be the hero of the story! Join the EWG Sr. High Drama Club as they present Big Fish the Musical.

Based on the celebrated novel by Daniel Wallace and the acclaimed film directed by Tim Burton, BIG FISH centers on Edward Bloom, a traveling salesman who lives life to its fullest… and then some! Edward’s incredible, larger-than-life stories thrill everyone around him – most of all, his devoted wife Sandra. But their son Will, about to have a child of his own, is determined to find the truth behind his father’s epic tales. Overflowing with heart, humor and spectacular stagecraft, BIG FISH is an extraordinary new Broadway musical that reminds us why we love going to the theatre – for an experience that’s richer, funnier and BIGGER than life itself.

For tickets and info please visit

The following information was provided by one proud parent:

The week of March 13- March 18 was RI Brain Week all over the state. There was a big hands-on expo at Brown, more stuff at URI (for kids) and it was all free.  In conjunction with Brain week, RI-CART (the RI Consortium for Autism Research & Treatment) and the RIHS opened an Art Show at the Museum of Work and Culture.  The Art Show includes pieces from all different mediums exclusively made by students and adults on the autism spectrum.  Here is the site:

Nolan Powers was the only student from our school district invited to participate.  He is in 3rd grade in Mrs. Barbour’s class at Metcalf Elementary.  The show runs through the end of this weekend for anyone interested in seeing the work of some gifted artists.

Our own Nicole Pichette was named the 2017 Duck  Stamp Teacher of the Year. She recently hosted our big event to a full auditorium with RI young artists, teachers across the state, Fish & Wildlife personnel, and Congressman Langevin! MANY Exeter-West Greenwich students representing all of our schools once again placed in the annual Duck Stamp contest. Great job, Nicole! 

Congratulations to Mrs. Sue Blake and Mrs. Kim Regan for being named advisors of the year for our Best Buddies program. Best Buddies is in its first year at the Senior High School, and the goal of the program is to pair students with disabilities with student mentors to build lasting and meaningful relationships through social activities. The program was recently highlighted at a School Committee meeting - what an amazing first year, and an incredible honor for our advisors to receive such recognition!

I recently visited Mrs. Johnson's third grade class at Metcalf as they were using technology to conduct research on important women in United states History. They were all extremely excited about their work as they shared new learning with me - and equally excited to be highlighted in this blog!

Last evening, Metcalf hosted its annual band concert for parents and community members. The highlight of the show was seeing Principal Ratigan sitting in the band alongside her fellow students as they shared their music for the audience. Mrs. Ratigan has been taking saxophone lessons from music teacher Miss Place and it was important to show that we are always learning! Great job to all.

Come see another production on May 11th at our Junior Senior High School. Wings is an original production of our Unified Theater group and it promises to be an inspirational and motivating experience for all to see.  

Monday, April 3, 2017

March 31, 2017

Superintendent's Blog
March 31, 2017

See announcement about the All-Day Referendum to approve the school department's budget. It is important for all to go to the polls on April 10th!!

There are so many fantastic events happening in the district. This blog highlights several elementary events from the past couple of weeks.

On March 22nd, Wawaloam and Metcalf hosted a Family Math Night and it was packed! Several families provided feedback about how much fun they had with their children while exploring mathematics. Many thanks to the teachers and administrators who contributed to the planning of such a successful opportunity for our students and their families.

On Tuesday, March 28th, Wawaloam and Metcalf gave their annual presentation to the School Committee. Principals Marino and Ratigan, along with several teachers and students, highlighted exciting programs and initiatives at their respective schools. The theme for this year's presentation was student engagement and topics included science explorations and technology applications. Below, proud student Logan J. discusses his coding projects with the Superintendent and Attorney Henneous. Fabulous job, Logan!

Metcalf held its Creative arts Night on Thursday, March 30th. Framed student art work was on display from every child in grades three through six.

Mrs. Scheff led the Metcalf chorus in a special presentation to the guests.

Other activities included poetry, games, and crazy pictures. Students and faculty shared in the fun. Below, Mrs. McWeeney (the snorkler) and Mrs. Pucino (the shark), took the photo of the evening.

MONDAY, APRIL 10, 2017

Vote at your convenience 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
West Greenwich Town Hall or Exeter Town Hall

On Monday, April 10th an all day referendum will be held to approve the school district budget for the 2017-2018 school year. The E-WG School Committee approved budget is $31,733,320.  This represents a 3.40% increase to the Operating Budget over the previous fiscal year. Based upon actual student population from each member town, the local contribution from West Greenwich will increase by 4.00%, and from Exeter by 2.37%.

The school department continues to experience significant reductions in State aid as a result of the RI School Funding Formula and reductions to regional transportation and group home aid. Additionally, the cost of employee health care has increased by $1.2 million, and we are required to open up new elementary classrooms at four different grade levels based upon enrollment.

Like you, we are very proud of our schools. The School Committee and Administration have worked together to develop, manage and maintain a responsible annual budget. We are accommodating a growing student population through reorganization within existing school facilities, while maintaining an excellent curriculum and programs.

With the continued support of our valued communities, the School District will maintain its focus on academic distinction and student success.  Please,


Where do I vote?
Exeter voters vote at the Exeter Town Hall located at 675 Ten Rod Road, Exeter and West Greenwich voters vote at the West Greenwich Town Hall located at 280 Victory Highway, West Greenwich.  The polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at both locations for your convenience.

Please bring canned goods & pasta to restock the food banks in both towns.